Obama: US Will Prevail Over ‘Despicable’ Terrorist Threats
Obama National Security Briefing: No ‘Specific’ Terror Threats Against U.S., but Americans Must Remain Vigilant.
WASHINGTON — President Obama, seeking to counter pressure for a military escalation in response to terrorist attacks, told a group of news columnists this week that sending significant ground forces back to the Middle East could conceivably result in the deaths of 100 American soldiers every month.With national security fears on the rise, Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans preparing for the holiday season that there was no “specific and credible” threat facing the United States. “We do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland,” Obama said, flanked by members of his national security team and vice-president Joe Biden. “That said, we have to be vigilant.” The president’s speech arrived on the heels of growing unrest over the threat of terrorism following attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
President Barack Obama gave a third speech on terrorism in less than two weeks in an attempt to placate critics unhappy with his actions and words after the San Bernardino attack.President Barack Obama said there is no credible evidence of a terrorist threat against Americans now but added that the country must remain vigilant and united. “One of our greatest weapons against terrorism is our own strength and resilience as a people,” Obama said Thursday at the National Counter Terrorism Center. “If you see something suspicious, say something to law enforcement. Obama explained that his refusal to redeploy large numbers of troops to the region was rooted in the grim assumption that the casualties and costs would rival the worst of the Iraq war.
Echoing his address to the nation earlier this month, Obama on Wednesday said attacks like those in San Bernardino “stiffens our resolve” in terms of preparedness. Such a renewed commitment, he said, could require up to $10 billion a month and leave as many as 500 troops wounded every month in addition to those killed, a toll he deemed not commensurate to the threat. Resilience, he added, was one of the nation’s “greatest weapons”. “When Americans stand together, nothing can beat us,” Obama said. “We cannot give in to fear or change how we live our lives because that’s what terrorists want, that’s the only leverage they have.” The president spoke before 105 employees of the National Counterterrorism Center and intelligence community following a closed-door briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.
And that makes it harder to prevent.” On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey had talked about Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists focusing on small attacks, something that previously was rarely mentioned before in relation to the jihadist group. Obama then outlined three main thrusts of the battle against terrorism, referencing his Pentagon speech from Monday, saying that the US is “going after terrorists over there” and “hitting ISIL harder than ever in Syria and Iraq”; “doing everything in our power to prevent terrorists from getting into the United States,” including looking into the visa waiver, refugee application and K-1 fiancée visa programs; and stepping up efforts to prevent terrorist attacks in the US. Obama said that if he did send troops to Syria, as some Republicans have urged, he feared a slippery slope that would eventually require similar deployments to other terrorist strongholds like Libya and Yemen, effectively putting him in charge of governing much of the region. The moves come as the president seeks to toughen his message against Isis amid diminishing confidence among the American people over national security.
It’s natural,” Obama said. “What the world doesn’t always see are the successes, those terrorist plots that have been prevented, and that’s how it should be,” Obama said. “This work oftentimes demands secrecy, but as Americans, we should not forget how good these patriots are. Over the years, they have taken countless terrorists off the battlefield, they have disrupted plots. they’ve thwarted attacks, they have saved American lives.” Obama noted that while many Americans may not be aware of it, intelligence and counterterrorism officials have taken in terrorists, disrupted plots, thwarted attacks and saved lives. Trump said even the families of terrorists should be killed, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas proposed to “carpet bomb” Islamic State holdouts despite the risk of civilian casualties, and Ben Carson argued for sending ground troops. Obama made his comments during a nearly two-hour meeting with the columnists and other opinion writers on Tuesday afternoon, about 10 in all, just hours before the debate and when his frustration with Republican criticism was evident.
Trump’s comments on Muslims did not make him an outlier in the presidential field, but instead represented the culmination of many years of a Republican strategy of division and fear mongering. Among those attending the session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House were an opinion columnist and an editorial writer for The New York Times, but they were not sources for this article. Obama emphasized again that vigilance against terrorism should not lead Americans to sacrifice values that define the nation — a direct response to remarks from Republicans. “We have to remind ourselves that when we stay true to our values, nothing can defeat us,” Mr. Obama claimed progress in pushing back the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, through a strategy of airstrikes combined with Special Operations raids and support for local forces on the ground.
Obama’s absence, White House officials are concerned by the void that is likely to be filled by his critics and by what they call the overheated claims of Republicans who can afford to be bellicose without the responsibilities of the commander in chief.
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